Biomass Characterization

My lab is uniquely poised to develop and implement in-situ nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and small angle neutron scattering (SANS) techniques to understand various liquid-phase and heterogeneous catalytic reactions of biomass. For example, using a high-pressure and -temperature SANS reaction cell, we will perform in-situ SANS experiments on lignin undergoing catalytic depolymerization. We are interested in making novel contributions to improvements in biomass characterization to understand biomass recalcitrance.

A new area I am exploring is the ways that biomass recalcitrance relates to how plant adapt themselves in response to mechanical stimuli. The protection of the plant cell wall against breakdown is central to cell homeostasis and to how cells direct growth of the plant. As part of an NSF Science and Technology Center for Engineering Mechanobiology, I am interested in developing a new analytical toolkit, such as Atomic Force Microscope Infrared-Spectroscopy (AFM-IR), to uncover fundamental relationships between biomass compositional and mechanical properties.

[Ref.: Foston, M., Samuel, R., He, J., Ragauskas, A.J. (2016). A Review of Whole Cell Wall NMR by the Direct-dissolution of Biomass. Green Chemistry. 18(3), pp. 608-621.

Borodinov, N., Bilkey, N., Foston, M., Levlev, A. V., Belianinov, A., Jesse, S., Vasudevan, R. K., Kalinin, S. V., Ovchinnikova, O. S. (2019) Spectral map reconstruction using pan-sharpening algorithm: enhancing chemical imaging with AFM-IR. Microscopy and Microanalysis, 25(S2), pp. 1024-1025.

Borodinov, N., Bilkey, N., Foston, M., Levlev, A. V., Belianinov, A., Jesse, S., Vasudevan, R. K., Kalinin, S. V., Ovchinnikova, O. S. (2019) Application of pan-sharpening algorithm for correlative multimodal imaging using AFM-IR. npj Computational Materials, 5(1), pp. 1-9.]